Daily Challenge Day 58

ok! An early start [14:35] so potential for longer post. So past week or so, I have read a few articles from Treehugger and Architectureau website, which got me rethinking about the design process, the main ones being:

  1. Why do architects want to be artists?
  2. South Australia issues draft housing design guidelines
  3. 2001: A Space Odyssey meets The Great Gatsby: Australia’s first capsule hotel opens in Sydney
  4. Should golf courses be converted into public parks?
  5. Canberra’s Westside shipping container village on the move
  6. In search of the lost British bike lanes
  7. Lightweight prefab wood framing system goes together without nails
  8. Eric Reguly on how self-driving cars will kill cities, not save them

[16:12] ok! Didn’t happen I got side tracked looking for the following:

Architectural Blatherations

and in the process fell across:

  1. Building designers hit back at Architects campaign and head to the ACCC
  2. Architect vs Draftsman
  3. Architect vs Draftsperson vs Building Designer – what’s the difference? {the most reasonable}
  4. Building Designer vs Architect – what is the difference?
  5. Architect versus Architectural Drafter {May have experienced less flak if knew difference between “there” and “their”}
  7. Australia’s architecture sector

So ended up with more reading than writing. The idea was to write about design, independent of codes and regulations, and independent of other stuff. I joined a group on linkedin a few years back called “Design Thinking”, I thought this was about, designing the process of design and thinking about design processes. It turned out to be the title of a book and consequently a myopic view about design. I don’t like classification of ideas anymore than I like occupational titles.

Classification is problematic. For example start talking about an economic system, it gets called communism and then further discussion is aborted. No real thought and no real design, no real problem solving, just classification. As a society as a community we cannot solve problems because we don’t look at the problems, we just look at available solutions or more specifically classes of available solutions. The classes of solutions are either acceptable or unacceptable: so as soon as a partial idea is classified it gets rejected depending on where it gets placed in the existing classes of ideas.

Design is important to me for many reasons. For one I didn’t want to study engineering, I wanted to study science, because my view was that engineers were technicians, solutioneers. History showed that invention was by people at the “coal face”, that necessity was the mother of invention, and that people with scientific knowledge helped improve invention they rarely if ever invented. I have a problem with idiots on forums, where their response to questions is: if you want to know the answer to that then go study for 4 years and get a degree in engineering. If I could be bothered joining these forums and logging in: my response to the responder would be something along the lines of: If you need 4 years of education to answer the question, then you’re formal education was a waste of time.

The modern world is missing an important point. All the knowledge disseminated by the universities did not originate in the universities. The universities may be the curators of the first written record of such knowledge, but they are not the originators. At most universities you will learn that which is written in books and held in libraries: established and existing knowledge. Rarely will you encounter someone with unique and original insight: they won’t be accepted as they are not part of the in crowd. Students may be imposed on to show original thought: or at least given the impression they are meant to do so.

My expectation of attending university was that my mind would be ripped apart, and I would be taught to perceive the world like nobody else. A clear uncluttered perception of the world, to have great clarity of thought. To be able to formulate arguments with clarity, to have highly honed skills in reasoning and logic. (None of my freewriting waffle)

The reality was just more time at school, but with people who were not qualified in teaching or education, nor with any great experience. I guess my favorite lecturers and tutors would have been the two naval architects who took me for engineering mechanics, and mechanical design. Followed by the civil engineer, who originally took me for engineering contracting, and then later for several management subjects when I took further subjects through school of management. These 3 people had experience and interesting stories and insight. Possibly more importantly they weren’t petrol heads with limited experience from GMH.

My point is that things have got confused. The typical modern graduate with a B.Eng doesn’t have the skill they are meant to have, nor the skill industry would like them to have. I will stick with my main premise:

Engineering takes place at the frontiers of science and technology.

The USA has clearly messed things up, their ideas seem to be the basis of the WFEO accords. But I ask how can someone who passes a multiple choice open book examination (FE/PE exams) be considered an engineer? They are technicians, tested for conversancy in the established body of technical science as it relates to established technology. The purpose of legislation and licensing is to ensure that there is no deterioration in the quality of the established technology. We don’t want buildings to fall over, we don’t want wheels to fall off cars, and we don’t want ships to sink or aircraft to fall out of the sky. We don’t want to get electrocuted by the TV.

It is concerned with the required characteristics of the established technologies. Such is concerned with qualitative design, not quantitative science, not mathematics and not physics. The fundamental task is to determine the functional requirements of the technology. What do we want the technology for? How can we achieve those objectives?

As I was taught design occurs on a drawing board. So first problem, is reading letters from MIEAust’s and FIEAust’s in engineers Australia magazine complaining about having to do their own drawings. Then again these are mostly people with degrees in civil engineering: they are not overly capable of recognising technology if they saw it. Civil engineers jump up and down declaring how they built civilisation. Ok! So civil engineers are responsible for an unsecure water supply, a shortage of housing, shortage of schools, a shortage of hospitals, low quality ineffective transport infrastructure.

I know I don’t have a degree in civil engineering to be able to criticise. See the problem, the views of the people are irrelevant. You need the formal education, so that can theorise just how good all the rubbish we have actually is. Thats the tallest building in the world, so its good a great achievement. Ignore that few would actually want to live in such junk. This the worlds longest bridge of its type. Ignore that the bridge is about to change the entire distribution of people and business, and basically wreck the economy.

As I have mentioned before we don’t need people with all this higher education to get things done. That which we need to get done, is more of that which has already been done, and which was done by people without all this occupational degree rubbish. That which, we require, those with the degrees to do, they are not actually capable of doing.

If working at the frontiers of science and technology is considered impractical or unreasonable. Every time I mention such to engineers when they are complaining about train drivers and plumbers stealing their title, they object that it is unreasonable. I don’t believe so, it is set in history. Sure it is harder to get to the frontier. So what they are saying is they want the title and status without having the capability. Though they consider the title has no status: they’re a confused mob.

At the very minimum I expect engineers to apply science and develop a rational scientific design model for a technology where none existed before. I therefore do not consider engineering to be the application of the rational scientific design process to routine variants of established technologies.

That is to say that designing a building structure or bridge structure is not engineering. It is simply rational scientific design. I prefer to call it technical design or functional design. Engineering involves uncertainty and high risk: technical or functional design does not. We know what the function of a building is and we know how to achieve that function. If function is missing then we can identify the design as flawed. We can identify that the implementation of a building is flawed.

People make use of drafting services, because people effectively design their own houses and buildings for business. The drafter can turn the building owners thoughts into a collection of drawings which describe what they want. The task of a drafter is to communicate ideas.

So for example I was taught I do the design drawings, and pass them onto a drafter to produce formal drawings to meet company standards and improve communication. Depending on the company and the work, my design drawings may go straight to the shop floor for fabrication: therefore it may be necessary to communicate an idea to someone other than a drafter.

I therefore expect to work on a drawing board, not just work with a pocket calculator crunching numbers. But I moved from structures associated with machines, and fabrication of structures, to design of building structures. The building industry I find inefficient and overly regulated. Not surprising when the formally educated seem to spend far too much time complaining about their status and the prestige they believe they deserve. Most! They want status based on the work of their ancestors, not that which is currently happening.

… interrupted for tea.

[21:26] Back from tea and telly.

Shouldn’t have started with reference to the blogs I’ve been reading, it got me sidetracked from where I was heading and was intending to write about.

…. not sure I can get back on track: maybe tomorrow. [21:43]